In memoriam of the living
I came across an obituary written by the individual who passed away. He wrote a brief paragraph where he mentioned his loved ones, gave gratitude to those who made a difference throughout his life, and thanked his fortune for having had the opportunity to live exactly the way he wanted for as long as he lived.
It was the most interesting, real, and moving obituary I’ve ever read. I feel that he intended to leave a note of appreciation and love to the world, and highlight the celebration of his life in the way he saw it: full and happy.
Naturally, I got to thinking about what I would write if I were to think about leaving my own obituary for the world to see. First, an important note: this is not an exercise in coming to terms with one’s mortality or the finite and transient nature of those we love; rather, it’s a pause to reflect on our final act of farewell and my thoughts on this memento mori written by a stranger and found by me in a newspaper.
I mulled over what I would write for mine…“I enjoyed everything, and tried to live without boundaries”? “My home is everywhere, and my heart is everywhere”?
Then I thought, maybe: “I didn’t let people happen to me”?(BTW, the last one is a reference to a Harvey Milk quote that stayed with me).
What did those first drafts have in common? I realized that they were bullshit. Why? Because everything we feel is true today about our existence in this world could be an absolute lie tomorrow – by virtue of controlled or uncontrolled circumstances.
So my working obituary draft as of this moment reads: “I’m a journeywoman; I’ve been on this interesting road for a while, but now it’s time for me to change direction and destination – at least for the foreseeable future.”
That would probably be the most honest and truthful obituary I could write.